Where I live in Florida, it feels like I’m surrounded by storage facilities of one kind or another. U-Haul, U-Stor, Uncle Bob’s Self Storage, Life Storage, CubeSmart, Atlantic Self Storage, iStorage… There are even services that will drop off a metal shipping container in your driveway, let you load them at your leisure, then pick it up and put it in a climate-controlled warehouse until you’re ready to have it back. One would think that in Japan, a country where living space is at a premium, self-storage would be a huge market.
However, while researching for the as-of-yet unnamed second book in my series, I was surprised to find that self-storage doesn’t seem to be as big a market as the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
In Japan, self-storage facilities are called “trunk rooms”. I was surprised to find that one growing utilization for trunk rooms is actually their rental by the homeless population, in order to obtain a mailing address in their efforts to seek gainful employment.
The worst part about the prevalence of self-storage in the US, is that a lot of people seem to be storing things they don’t really need. Successful TV shows like “Storage Wars” have been born surrounding the concept of buying storage lockers that were abandoned by their renters, by inability to pay, death, or even just letting go.
The self-storage market in Japan is growing, but I can’t help feeling that it hasn’t caught on the same way because the Japanese are more accustomed to living in smaller spaces and holding onto fewer things.